Eating in season

Thu, Apr 30, 2009

Eating only what is in season has many advantages, some quite obvious and some not so. The obvious advantage is that it is sourced locally and perhaps direct from the producer. This allows you to enquire whether chemicals were used in its production; it may even allow you to taste it first. Very importantly, it means your money is being spent locally. There are several Galway restaurants focusing on sourcing the very best local produce and they are the ones that deserve your support; they will usually list the producers in the menu and it shows a dedication to quality.

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Chef’s Corner

Thu, Apr 30, 2009

Cooking experience: Scotty, originally from Columbus, Ohio, started off as a dishwasher in a steakhouse and went on to work in five star French restaurants and hotels in the US and in Europe. He met his wife Jenny Silke in chef school in Boston and followed her to Galway 20 years ago, together they set up a deli in Munster Avenue at the back of a fruit and veg shop which belonged to Jenny’s father. Following from the deli’s success they set up Scotty’s Casual Gourmet in Middle Street. They then moved to a restaurant at Glasan near GMIT before setting up Scotty’s Steakhouse. “This steakhouse is the culmination of a lot of dreams. We cook to order using quality ingredients in an impeccably clean environment and with friendly service,” says Scotty.

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Steak — restaurant style

Thu, Apr 30, 2009

You want to cook the finest, juiciest, and best tasting steak of all time. Steak being so simple to cook in a funny way leads it to a great steak being difficult to perfect. The English and French approach the seasoning of the meat in completely different ways. In France the meat is seasoned when raw; this allows a better penetration of the salt into the meat, which will increase flavour. The English argue that the meat should be seared and then seasoned as not to draw out any excess moisture, leaving the meat more on the juicy side and with a better caramelised surface. I follow both rules, seasoning one side when raw and the other (the side I will be presenting the meat) seared.

The single most important part of cooking a steak is getting the best possible beef. In my case that’s prime Irish grass fed Hereford society heifer beef. Aberdeen Angus is also good, as is Wadakin. Good quality beef should be bright red (not dull, as this poor colouration is caused mainly by oxidation) and slightly firm to the touch with a pleasant sweet smell. Good fat distribution, or marbling, is also important. Now that you have you beef right, onto the cooking.

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Allotments, the bargain of the recession

Thu, Apr 23, 2009

There was a time when allotments were a common feature in towns and cities, especially in the UK where it formed a strategic part of Britain’s recovery after World War II. If you take the train through the countryside in the UK you will still see some extremely well tended plots that have been there for many years. Home gardening and allotments were also an extremely important factor in the USA where, in 1945, 20 million members of the public produced 45 per cent of the nation’s vegetable requirements. Recently Michelle Obama put on her wellies and, along with a group of children, opened an organic plot in the grounds of the White House.

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Fish pie

Thu, Apr 23, 2009

There are few better ways to enjoy fresh seafood than a well made fish pie. A creamy wine sauce flavoured with leek and parsley mixed with whatever fish is available and best. Rich mashed potato finished with real butter and cream and topped with local Galway cheese baked till golden fish pie is really one of the great Irish foods.

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Great food, great value at The Living Room

Thu, Apr 23, 2009

The whole country may be reeling from cost savings and cutbacks but there is no need to tighten your belt at the Living Room Bar and Restaurant, where prices have been slashed so lunch can now be enjoyed for less than €10.

The menu saver options include The Living Room’s famous brunch which costs just €8.95 and includes free tea/coffee and toast. This new value for money range has no compromise on the quality or service. The extensive range of delicious main courses will ensure you always get change back out of a tenner.

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A chat with Kevin Dunne, head chef at The White Gables restaurant, Moycullen

Thu, Apr 16, 2009

This week is the first in a series of interviews with several head chefs of Galway’s restaurants. There are very few well known chefs in Ireland, but very often the person responsible for all the creativity in the kitchen is a behind the scenes person. So to find out a little more, Kevin and I chatted for a couple of hours over a coffee.

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Chicken leg with pistachio and apricot

Thu, Apr 16, 2009

The chicken is probably the most intensively reared animal in modern agriculture. Chicken produces a highly versatile meat which up until the early 20th century was considered a luxury food.

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Heneghans opens new premises at The Bridge Mills

Thu, Apr 16, 2009

Twenty years ago, in April 1989, Frank and Ellen Heneghan opened their first cafe in The Bridge Mills. They painstakingly restored the derelict corn mill that had functioned until the 1970s.

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Making the case for a picnic

Thu, Apr 09, 2009

Every Galwegian is looking forward to the last section of the motorway from Galway to Athlone opening. This will mean that you can hop in your car and be at the Liffey Valley Centre in approximately two hours.

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Connemara hill lamb/uain sléibhe Chonamara

Thu, Apr 09, 2009

Parma ham, feta cheese, champagne, Parmigiano reggiano, Roquefort cheese, and Connemara hill lamb. So what do these and a select number of other great foods have in common? PGI or protected geographical indication — in other words the lamb reared in exclusive designated areas of Connemara is recognised as being unique, and as such is protected under EU law. The achievement of gaining this unique status is such that Greece has fought a legal battle for the past 20 years to gain this status for Feta cheese. Now that’s something for each and every person in Galway to be proud of. Anyone familiar with Connemara hill lamb will have little difficulty verifying why hill lamb is so special. The lambs tend to mature at a slower rate, which allows the meat develop a deeper, fuller, flavour. Also the diet of the lamb, which includes a distinctive selection of herbs and heathers, adds considerably to the succulent taste and texture of the meat.

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Market day in Clarinbridge and lunch in the Radisson

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

Last Sunday saw the launch of Galway’s newest market in Clarinbridge. It will be held on the last Sunday of each month beside the garden centre at the rear of Centra. There was a superb turnout of 19 market stalls selling cakes, breads, home-made soups, oysters, farm fresh eggs, jams, pancakes, chutneys, and home-made fudge, plus several jewellery and hand crafts stalls. It was very busy with one trader telling me that she had sold 48 cakes of brown bread by 1.30pm. It starts at 12 noon and closes at 6pm, and a stall can be purchased for €20 which seems very good value indeed. I predict that it is going to be very popular, particularly in the summer months, so if you are thinking about a stall there, book your space now before it is full. As always I encourage you to attend and support all local markets in your area and I wish the Clarinbridge Market and all its stall holders every success.

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Magnificent monkfish

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

A big ugly swimming mouth, a stomach attached to a tail, or simply plain ugly, Lophius piscatorius may be many things, but pretty it is not. The monkfish is an extremely popular fish on the tables of Irish restaurants, and for good reason. The meat is delicate and firm in texture with an extremely pleasant aftertaste, particularly when simply cooked in a little butter and finished with no more than a squeeze of lemon juice.

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Celebrate with spring lamb

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

There is no better way to celebrate Easter than with spring lamb! Bord Bia has come up with some great new recipes which combine both traditional and far away flavours to deliver versatile and mouthwatering dishes.

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Have a Happy Easter at the Harbour Hotel

Thu, Apr 02, 2009

The Harbour Hotel with the K Bar and Krusoes restaurant serving fresh, good quality, food, is located just two minutes’ walk from Eyre Square, and with easy access from all routes is the perfect setting for Easter Sunday lunch.

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Designer tea

Thu, Mar 26, 2009

Now that we have had 10 years of coffee houses springing up in every conceivable space, the ‘cup of tea’ has nearly been consigned to history. Indeed the phrase ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ seems to be taken by many to read as, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee?’ Except for a certain generation where the ‘cuppa’ still reigns supreme, most people are now devoted coffee consumers.

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Simple steps to weight gain

Thu, Mar 26, 2009

Ninety nine per cent of people simply do not consume enough food calories and are eating the wrong food. It happens time after time and someone will ask me how to gain weight, my first question is: “What have you eaten today?” and without a doubt most will say not much. You have to eat to fuel the body, plain and simple. Most men do not consume sufficient amounts of protein, complex carbs, fats, and they keep feeding on simple carbs that won’t help in weight gain and muscle gain.

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Duck — a tasty treat for any occasion

Thu, Mar 26, 2009

Duck meat is succulent and full of flavour but all too often only consumed on special occasions. There are many breeds of duck, each with its own distinctive culinary attributes. The Indian runner, Aylesbury, Peking, Norfolk, Long Island, Gressingham, Barbary, Rouen, and mallard are just some of the species of duck available for the table.

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Alan & Susan’s Pantry, Oranmore

Thu, Mar 19, 2009

I have made passing reference to this super new deli and now that they have had time to source all the goodies it is worth telling you about some of the unusual and great tasting items I have sampled. The word ‘deli’ is a highly abused term over the last few years and there are so many it is hard to tell the good from the bad — indeed a real deli is a distinct rarity and this is certainly the best for many miles around the Oranmore area. It is tucked around the corner from Main Street, Oranmore, facing the astroturf pitch with loads of free parking, even at the front door.

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Eggs — a local food for any time

Thu, Mar 19, 2009

With all the talk of an economic meltdown it’s easy to consider locally produced food as a luxury that is for many beyond reach. The truth of the matter is fortunately far different — it’s possible to walk into almost any shop in Galway and find locally produced free range eggs.

Galway has a number of egg producers ranging from Galway free range eggs, Corrib eggs, Rockland eggs, and Piggott Pearse and Sons of Gort. Eggs are possibly the ultimate fast food and are considered a nutritionally whole food as all essential nutrients can be found in an egg. A freshly laid hen’s eggs simply boiled for three minutes and served with hot buttered toast is a feast fit for any person and any occasion. Also due to eggs containing a high proportion of protein a simple boiled egg is an excellent way to keep hunger at bay. Interestingly when it comes to boiling an egg the one rule to follow is not to let the egg boil, but rather allow the water simmer in a very gentle way.

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